The Lesson of God's Love I Learned from Swimming in a Hospital Fountain

In this week’s episode of  This Is the Gospel, Christie Gardiner shares the story of how she and her brother learn they are never alone as they name-drop their eccentric great-uncle and embark on daring adventures wandering a local hospital. 

Read an excerpt adapted from her story below. You can also listen to the full interview here or read a full transcript here.

My brother was four years old, and I was eight years old when we moved into this beautiful old house that had been in our family for years and years and years and was owned by my great uncle.

Across the street from our house was a big hospital, LDS Hospital in downtown Salt Lake City. It was a hub for us. We rode our bikes in the parking lot of the physician's office building. We would sneak into the hospital and walk through the halls. And rarely we would get a look or two, but mostly nobody paid attention. We would have our dinner in the LDS Hospital cafeteria and we thought it was a very fancy because we could pick whatever we wanted. We started to become kind of known in the hospital.

There was this one time when we knew what we were about to do at the hospital might be crossing a little bit of a line. It got to be summertime, and it got really, really hot. What do two little kids want to do in the summertime when it's really hot? You want to go swimming, but we didn't have anyone to take us to the neighborhood pool.

So we donned our swimming suits and picked out some towels and went to the hospital fountain. We put out our towels. We lathered up with sunscreen (we were very conscientious and responsible children) and started swimming in the fountain.

We noticed that there was an official-looking guy that came out of the hospital and he looked a little bit mad and he was coming our way really intently. As he approached us, I had maybe a moment where I thought, “Oh, maybe you're not going to be too happy that we're swimming in the fountain.”

But I splashed right over to him and he said, “What do you two think that you're doing out here?” And I said, “Swimming.” And he said, “What makes you think that you can swim in the hospital fountain?”

I got a bravado about me, shook my head, and said, “Don't you know who our great uncle is? Our uncle is a surgeon,” and then I said his name. The guy looked at me, and I just was quiet. He just turned around and walked away. That was enough for him. And I don't know what he thought, but no security ever told us to leave and we went back to swimming, and it wasn't the last time we swam in the hospital fountain.

Looking back the memories with my brother in the avenues in Salt Lake City are actually the best memories of my childhood. That confident little girl in the fountain knew her uncle would protect her. She had the courage to just be herself.

One gift that came from this childhood is that I've never questioned whether or not I was alone. No matter what happened to me through the rest of my life (and things got kind of intense over the rest of my childhood) I was the kid who swam in the hospital fountain. I was the kid who knew that her uncle was there if she needed him.

And just like I knew my uncle was there, I've always known that God is there. No matter what else happened, I knew that I could depend on that. Having Heavenly Father behind us makes us capable to do things that we never thought we'd be able to do and that we could never do alone. That gives us that hutzpah and that confidence to go for forward, knowing who we are.

Lead image courtesy of Christie Gardiner

Image titleWhen referenced in the scriptures, the word holy means to "set apart for a sacred purpose." It is a description all women who seek to follow Christ want to embody—but the struggle between the ideal of a holy life and reality can seem far apart. In Holy As You Are, best-selling author Christie Gardiner seeks to close the gap reminding women of the holy attributes they already possess and how they can accomplish extraordinary ordinary things that will forever change the landscape and heart-scape of their world.

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